When I look back on my life and examine the catalogue of heroes contained within I find a long and diverse group. There are marked changes and periods, ranging from fantasy to cool to idealistic to pragmatic. Some of the heroes of my childhood I would not consider heroes today. Does that mean that they are not important though? Do heroes like Speed Racer, Underdog, Joe Friday and Thomas Magnum have role to play?
As we get older we get more pragmatic, I think our heroes do too. It becomes less important on how “cool” a hero is and more important on what that hero has done with their life. It becomes easy for us to forget the importance of the heroes of our youth. It becomes easy to discount sport heroes because we forget the magic that comes with that great hit or shot. We focus only on the off court behavior and not at all on the on court glory.
Every once in while an event comes along that reminds of the simple magic of childhood heroes, the kind of heroes that you believe in just because if “feels” good. There is no rationality, no logic, it just “feels” right. A few weeks ago I was watching the most recent version of Peter Pan with my boys whom are two and four. We got to the part where Tinker Bell drinks poison meant for Peter and dies. Peter picks her up and starts crying. We were all very quite in my living room as winter began to sweep across Neverland. We watched intently as Peter laid Tinker Bell down in the snow and began to softly whisper “I believe in fairies.” He started repeating it over and over, soon his voice grew louder and others across Neverland took up the chant. Wendy, her brothers, the lost boys, the pirates everyone started shouting at the top of their lungs “I believe in fairies.” That’s when the magic happened, we were chanting as well. Softly at first, then louder and before you could guess what was happening my boys and I were running around the room screaming out the windows and front door “I believe in fairies.”
Needless to say Tinker Bell comes back to life, Peter rescues Wendy and the lost boys and Captain Hook is defeated. Also a childhood hero is born in my boys. There was no logic or reason for them, no discussion of ethics or morality, it was simply “right”. Something that you believe in for the sake of believing in it, I am reminded of something that was said by the character Hub in the movie “Second Hand Lions”:
“Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love… true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in.”
Good advice I think.
So I was reminded of the power of our childhood heroes. They may not stay with us but they are important in forging our character in ways that are deeply profound. I think that from time to time we need to revisit those childhood heroes and replenish our supply of magic. It is that simple child like magic that keeps us on the right path.
I’m thirty eight years old. I have a wife and two children with another on the way all of whom I love. I have a house and a car payment. I work in a dull job, but I can tell you this with out shame or embarrassment in absolute honesty:
“I believe in fairies.”
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